The past six months have been for the most part a tough experience for scores of people the world over, as the coronavirus has made its way around the globe.
Countries closed off their borders, and many businesses closed down. Those that didn’t shut their doors, asked their employees to work from home instead of risking their health by coming to work.
Working from the office as opposed to home are two very different beasts. In addition to productivity, another issue you need to be aware of while working remotely, is your cybersecurity.
When at the office, you’re probably working on a network that the company protects. Your home network probably won’t measure up with the same level of cybersecurity. Subsequently, you need to be extra-sure that documents won’t be leaked or given unauthorized access to your companies’ data.
While your home computer security won’t be that comprehensive, there are ways to strengthen your cybersecurity while working from home. Here are a few tips on how you can do that.
10 Tips and Tricks To Keep You Secure While Working Remotely
1. Antivirus Apps Are Your Friend
Most companies put a premium on data security. This is why firms invest heavily in security solutions that prevent malware infections. They also often restrict access to websites and prevent employees from installing programs. It is far more difficult to achieve this level of computer security with your home office setup, but leaving your computer vulnerable should never be a consideration.
So how do you prevent unauthorized access to your work documents? One solution is the use of antivirus apps. You simply install an antivirus program on the devices you use to access company data.
If you’re worried about the price-tag on some of these apps, there are also free antivirus programs you can use to decrease the odds that your computer will become infected with viruses and malware.
2. Keep Your Computer And Devices Updated
Keeping your devices updated can be painstaking since it takes time to update your devices and you are required to restart your computer several times during the process. With this in mind, here’s what you need to understand about system updates.
People often discover security vulnerabilities in apps and operating systems. Many of these vulnerabilities can leave your computer or device open to being taken over by a hacker. A computer that hasn’t undergone any updates is a prime target for cybercriminals.
Fortunately, system updates are one way to patch over these vulnerabilities. The bottom line is, if you want to keep your data safe, be sure you update all of your apps and devices you use for your work.
3. Secure Your Wi-Fi
As necessary as it is, securing your devices isn’t enough. You also need to be sure you don’t have any unauthorized persons accessing your wi-fi network, or worse, gaining control of your router. If an attacker gets into your network or router, they will gain access to your data, including passwords and emails. This makes it critical you secure your wi-fi network.
To start, turn off your wi-fi router’s ability to broadcast your network name, or SSID. You will also want to change the wi-fi password to something stronger. Next, be sure you encrypt your password. For best results, use WPA2, considered the most secure encryption method to date. And while you’re at it…
4. Secure Your Router Login And Password Too
If you are still using the default login and password for your router, then now is the best time to change them. The default login name and passwords on many router models are on the internet and are easy to search for. Change your router login details and keep attackers off your network.
5. Use A VPN
If you’re connected to a public internet network or sending an important email, be sure you use a VPN. Many wi-fi networks, including public ones, are unencrypted. Using a VPN encrypts your data and prevents unauthorized people from viewing your data.
6. Lock Your Device
Make it a habit to lock your device or computer whenever you leave the table. Whether it’s for a quick trip to the bathroom or a brief coffee break, locking up ensures no one can catch a peek of your work or correspondence.
Even if you are working at home with no one around, it’s always best you lock your screen when you take a break. You probably don’t want your children to hit buttons on your computer, nor would you want an errant house pet to send a blank email to your coworkers. Another thing to remember is to password protect your computer too!
7. Stick To Corporate Tools And Resources
While at work, refrain from using non-company tools and resources for work-related activities. Companies spend money to configure their tools for their employee’s use, and for confidentiality and security. This also means there is less risk of emailing the wrong email address, or accidentally misplacing a saved file.
8. Learn To Spot Suspicious Emails
Don’t be in a rush to respond to emails you receive on your work email address. Sometimes, a malicious email can make it past your company’s email server while disguised as something legitimate. Read each email carefully and keep an eye out for any red flags.
Don’t hesitate to contact your coworkers or your boss if you need clarification on the contents of an email you receive. Be also wary of any links in the emails that end up in your inbox, and avoid clicking on them.
9. Be Transparent With Your Work Progress
Remember to log your work progress in your company’s work tracker. This lets your supervisors know you are working and you aren’t wasting company time. Always be ready to report on your work and the progress you have made with your tasks.
One more thing: Try to keep your work hours reasonable. When people work from home, they forget time, starting work early and ending late. This causes you to become tired faster and contributes to stress. Bottom line is, stick to normal working hours.
10. A Comfortable Workplace Is a Must
Your health is important, so be sure you use a comfortable chair with adequate support for your back, and a desk that’s at the correct height. These adjustments will help make working on your computer easier, and far more comfortable.
Lighting is also important. You don’t want to end up straining your eyes. So remember to stand up periodically, stretch your arms and legs, and stay hydrated by drinking enough water. Take a break if you need to, and it’s best you don’t skip eating lunch or dinner.
The Bottom Line
Working from home doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By keeping these handy tips in mind, and your remote working experience will not only be a secure one, but a pleasant one.